Posted by: atowhee | April 17, 2015


A bird flew onto a power line near Emigrant Lake. If it had been perched I wouldn’t have slowed down, assuming it to be another bluebird. But in flight I saw the orange flash of the wings–a Townsend’s Solitaire! By the time I could stop and get out of the car it had flown down into the oak grove. There the motion came from a regiment of siskins eating the oak buds. All the while the resident Oak Titmouse was sounding the alarm, wishing the siskins would go back to the conifer forest where they belong.
An evening visit to Ashland Pond produced an unexpected Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. eBid has iver 740 checklists for the pond and no previous report of a gnatcatcher there.

Sadly I also saw the three Wood Ducklings swimming about by themselves. They were acting properly skittish as they skittered along the pond perimeter. But where was mom? Are they now orphans?amwi reflxAbove: Wivgeon at Emigrant Lake. Below: young Great Horned Owlet peeks over edge of nest.

ghowlet (1280x960)


nfol at owlFlicker checks out owl box. Below Flicker checks out my suet log.

nfol look

rokhatch1 (1280x960)White-breasted Nuthatch on rock, not on a tree turnk or limb.

true blu

Emigrant Lake, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 17, 2015 10:30 AM – 11:50 AM. 33 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) X
American Wigeon (Anas americana) 8
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 60
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 2
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 3
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 1
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) 1 adult sitting on nest
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
American Coot (Fulica americana) 3
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 1
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) X
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) 1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 5
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 1
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 6
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 3
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 2
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 5
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) 2
Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus) 1
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 4
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) 1 singing at cemtery
Western Bluebird (Sialia mexicana) 2 at nest box in cemetery
Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi) 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) X
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) 4
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 8
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) 2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 45
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) 2
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) 15
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 2

Ashland Pond, Jackson, US-OR
Apr 17, 2015 4:30 PM – 5:45 PM. 17 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  3     ducklings with no mother visible
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  6
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)  3
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  4
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  3
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  50
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  3
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea)  1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  X
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  3
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)  1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | April 17, 2015



“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.”   — William Butler Yeatsbeeloud1 (1280x960)The blooming vetch was full of bees and butterflies.  It purples the slopes and even the old lakebed at Emigrant Lake. VETCH PATCH VETCH WITH B-FYThe watr is now is higher than it has been in two years.  Some willows that have filled in the lakebed as it exists when the lake is full are now happier than ever.  Their feet are below the water, their limbs in full sun.  Willow wonderland.The vetch was originally brought here for animal food but it is now rampant on the open slopes of the Cascade foothills.
Posted by: atowhee | April 17, 2015


There was a House Wren singing in the oaks at Emigrant Lake today.  Evidently he was a new arrival, and not likely to nest there.  Generally the Bewick’s Wrens get the low elevation territories, forcing their duskier cousins up into the mountains to nest.  It was my first House Wren of the spring.howr sings2 (1280x960)There was also a pair of Western Bluebirds checking out the nest box with two front doors.  It is in the pioneer cemetery at Emigrant Lake.bbird box4 (1280x960)As I drove through Ashland there was this accipiter far up.  I took it to be a Cooper’s Hawk, though the two-tone wings in the strong back-lighting tempted me to try to believe it was a Goshawk. COOPED UP

Posted by: atowhee | April 16, 2015


On warm, sunny spring days like today it seems life has an ebullience and power that cannot be denied.  A male Bewick’s Wren throws back his tiny head and give full-throated song toward the heavens.  Yet, his target is clearly other male wrens hidden in the shrubs and thickets nearby.  I stopped to admire a Song Sparrow who’s been singing from the same bush for three weeks.  I believe him to be a first-year bird as his song was partial and unformed when he started.  Now he sounds like the other males around the pond.  And when he spied me he sang with more animosity and ferocity than before…or so it seemed at close hand. Perhaps none of our birds can be more ferocious, based on the formula of aggression per gram, than our local hummers.  Terence Phillipe tells me he had his first Calliope of the spring, at his feeders.  That’s at 2000′ elevation on Rapp Road in Talent.  They’ll be moving upslope eventually.

And I’ve seen my first ducklings of the year here, and not Mallards!  Momma Woodie and her triplets at Ashland Pond.BEWR SINGZ (1280x960) FULLTHROPT2 FULLTHROT1A lurking Lincoln’s Sparrow, another recent arrival along with a pair of Kingbirds checking out the wires along Nevada Street.  They sure do like our manmade utilities for nest sites. LINC WEKI WIRE WEKI WIRES1 WEKI WIRES2 WEKI WIRES3 WODU WITH 3

Posted by: atowhee | April 14, 2015


There is a certain variety of juniper that thrives in a salt-windy environment,  Thus you find this kind of juniper planted across he Marina District in S.F. where it protrudes into the windswept Bay and absorbs plenty of salty air.  The local, invasive parakeet also seems to thrive in this habitat as well.

The junipers and their berries have been discovered by migrating waxwings.CWW LOOK2 CWW LOOK3 CWW PAIR CWW PLUS BRRYCWW SITZ CWW PORTRAT CWW LEANZ

Posted by: atowhee | April 13, 2015


2BCNH ONLIM 2BCNH STAND BCN WITH REFLX mall bebe The young: Mallard duckling and Black-crowned Night-Heron yearling. Both at Palace of Fine Arts.N-H YNG Sanderling above, Willet below.WILLE1

Posted by: atowhee | April 13, 2015


We are currently staying in San Francisco’s Marina District so I am a short walk from SF Bay, the winter and spring swimming pool for two loon species–Common and Red-throated.  Herewith some images of the latter on a perfect, windless April morn.RTL CLOSE RTL FLAP1 RTL FLAP2 RTL FLAP3 RTL FLAP5 RTL FLAP6 RTL FLAP7 RTL ON BAY RTL STRTCH

Posted by: atowhee | April 11, 2015


GRKL FACEGreat-tails are a-comin’ and you can hear them sound off.  This week I heard and then saw a half dozen Great-tailed Grackles at Lake Merced in San Francisco.  This species was not here a mere decade ago when I saw my first Nor Cal grackles down near Monterey.  Now we are seeing them in southern Oregon.  One of several species expanding northward as climate and habitats change.GRCKL SIDEGRKL VOX1Caspian Tern along Crissy Field.  caster1 Then: Common Loon beginning to molt.  Common Yellowthroat, twice. Dunlin landing near Least Sanbdpipers, then two Dunlin in flight.  Followed by one Marbled Godwit wading. COLO ON BAY COYE HID4 COYE HIDS1 DNL FLIEZ dnln fliers GOD STROLLgrt scapGreater Scaup, Least Sandpiper  and high-steppin’ female Grackler.scsup strtch least wadz GTG FEMAL2

Posted by: atowhee | April 9, 2015



A four hour walk in the park netted an even 50 species of birds today plus numerous red tree squirrels and three monarch butterflies. Nesting birds were large and small; Great Blue Herons had three well grown young on a nest at Stow Lake.  Later I saw a Pygmy Nuthatch nest hole, two young were fledged and on nearby perches while the adult birds ferried food to at least one laggard nestling still inside.

Best bird of the day: a White-throated Sparrow at north end of North Lake, consorting with California Towhees and three white bantam roosters.  One such towhee below:CATO SAHDED

ANHO ON FNCE Anna’s hummer male. Brown Creeper, creeping up. Note the foot size on this relatively tiny bird.b-c feet b-c hangz   creeping up LEGO IN FENC1 Above:  only Lesser Goldfinch I saw in four hours. Below: gull needs molt.NEEDS MOLTIN WCS IN FENC

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, US-CA
Apr 9, 2015      6.0 mile(s). 50 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  X
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  80
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  1
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  20
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  2
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  1
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  3
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  8
Pelagic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pelagicus)  1     Spreckels Lake
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  5     nesting, Stow Lake, three nestlings
Great Egret (Ardea alba)  1
Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus)  1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  2
American Coot (Fulica americana)  50
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis)  60
California Gull (Larus californicus)  2
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)  1
Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  X
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)  2
Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)  4
Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)  2
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans)  6
Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)  2
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  6
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  20
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)  40
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)  5
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  1
Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea)  15
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  2
Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus)  2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  25
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  20
Wilson’s Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)  3
California Towhee (Melozone crissalis)  9
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  2
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  30
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  1     north  end of North Lake
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  8
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  12
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  20
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)  5
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  30
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)  12
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)  1
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X

Posted by: atowhee | April 6, 2015


Some photos taken by Terri Arino of Klamath Falls on our Klamath Bid Observatory field trip around Ashland on Saturday.KBO-OCW1 (853x1280)We didn’t just have an Orange-crowned Warbler…or two.  We had a flock foraging in the thickets around Ashland Pond, over a dozen individuals.  They were the first I;d seen this pring though there have been previous reports of returning OCWs. KBO-OCW2 (853x1280)KBO-1 (1280x853) Downy in a madrone.KBO-2 (853x1280) KBO-3 (853x1280)Lithia Park Dippers carrying food for nestlings.KBO-DIP3KBO-DIP2KBO-DIP1KBO-ANHU (853x1280)kbo-bbrd (1280x853)You can see more of Terri’s great photos at her website,

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